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Health 129 views Mar 02, 2020
Is beauty sleep a myth? Here's what happens to your body and br

From the story of the famous Disney character Sleeping Beauty to every person we know who insists on taking their afternoon nap for aesthetic purposes, it seems that beauty and sleep are often correlated.

Now, we have no clue whether Sleeping Beauty is described by Disney as a beautiful girl because she was asleep for a very long, long time. But we do know that sleeping can actually have a major impact on the way you look. Or at least, that’s what studies suggest.

For a very long time, before the ‘50s, specialists believed that sleeping was a passive activity that made our brain and body inoperative. However, later, they have come to the conclusion that sleep is actually a period during which the human brain engages in several activities necessary to life. Activities that keep our minds and bodies healthy.

Yet, it seems that sleep is no longer good only for your body and your brain but for your appearance too. If you think that sleep is a negative time in your day, let us tell you that your brain and several other systems in your body have a quite different opinion about this one.

Sleep deprivation makes you uglier, study shows

Recent findings suggest that people who miss out on sleep tend to appear less attractive to others. In fact, the study claims that only a few sleepless nights are enough to affect your appearance pretty significantly.

The researchers asked 25 university students, both male and female, to take part in their experiment to see whether or not sleep can affect one’s appearance. And, after taking a good night’s sleep for two consecutive nights, the students had to restrict their sleep to only four hours a night for the next two nights. The effects were recorded with make-up free photographs of the students both after the nights when they were asked to sleep well and after the two, mostly, sleepless nights.

But what were the results of the experiment? After the experiment, the researchers requested 122 strangers they found on the streets of Sweden’s capital city, Stockholm, to take a look at the photos and rate the attractiveness, health, sleepiness, and trustworthiness of the people in the pictures.

Unsurprisingly, the strangers were able to determine if the subjects were looking tired or sleepy, and also pointed out that their attractiveness has suffered. Moreover, the 122 strangers also told researchers that they were less likely to socialize with those students who looked tired, associating them with being less healthy as well.

At the end of the experiment, researchers concluded that sleep deprivation does make you look less attractive to the people around you. Furthermore, they also suggested that other’s negative perceptions of a tired person might be driven by a disease-avoiding mechanism. Simply put, people don’t want to hang out with people who might be ill. On the other hand, those who get a good night’s sleep and look energetic and fit tend to get a higher score of attractiveness.

Beauty sleep is not a myth

Now, you may be thinking that the results of the experiment might not be 100% accurate as there are many relative aspects, including the objectivity of beauty. However, let us strengthen this idea with some medical facts.

There are a lot of things going on inside your body and brain as you are floating off to Dreamland. From your immune system increasing the production of certain proteins that fight disease to the production of growth hormone which helps grow and maintain muscles and tissues, your body becomes a rollercoaster of processes and actions.

Now, what is the medical explanation of the “beauty sleep”? Well, it all starts right from the moment when you get in bed preparing to get some sleep. At that certain point, your body starts to cool down, nearly half of degree. And, to affect your body’s temperature, the circulatory system starts to increase blood flow to the skin.

Once you fall asleep, typically during stages 3 and 4 of your sleep, as mentioned above, your body starts to experience a surge in growth hormone. How is that connected to becoming more beautiful overnight? The growth hormone is generally responsible for regenerating body tissues like muscle and bone. However, growth hormone also plays a big part in maintaining the collagen matrix. Hence, it plays a major role in lessening the severity of wrinkles in the face and neck, at least temporarily, and keeping the appearance of youthfulness.

To test this theory, researchers analyzed what happens to the appearance of rats when deprived of sleep. The result? One of the first physical consequences that could be noticed was lesions on the skin. Therefore, this indicates that good sleep in important to the integrity of the skin.

Now, the skin is the largest human organ of the integumentary system of a body. Yes, organ! And, this organ is made of 7 layers. Yet, the first layer of the skin is mostly made of closely packed dead cells that are constantly removed during the day. Thus, although it has been proved that skin cells regenerate faster at night than they do during the day, a personalized skincare routine before going to bed still remains paramount for that youthfulness appearance.

Stress, sleep, skin

Sleep deprivation and stress are interconnected because they can have a major influence on one another. Simply put, you may not be able to sleep because you are dealing with high levels of stress or you may be feeling stressed because you are deprived of sleep. Either way, there’s not going to be any good result from each of these scenarios.

But what does this have to do with your skin? Stress can have multiple effects on the integrity of your skin. It can cause diseases such as alopecia areata, psoriasis, and atopic dermatitis. And, as you might imagine, they can all affect your appearance. As for sleep deprivation, you may already know the short-term and long-term consequences including swollen, sunken eyes, dark circles, and generally pale and dehydrated skin.

These studies are good reminders of how important sleep is to us. A good night’s sleep is paramount for mental and physical health and for our youthfulness looks.